My client is a system integrator who designs, installs and supports communications systems for enterprises. The company offers a number of different solutions based on the customer’s specific needs.
The company’s sales presentations include a general pitch about the company’s experience and expertise along with specific slides featuring one of the solutions in its portfolio.
PowerPoint’s “custom shows” feature offers a way for the company to provide a single “master file” to its sales force that can be easily used to give a generic presentation or specific presentations that offer one of the solutions. There a couple of advantages to this approach:
- Sales people do not have to copy, insert or hide slides to prepare a specific presentation.
- The company has a single PowerPoint file to distribute and maintain.
The only disadvantage is that the sales person has to select a custom show to begin his presentation rather than simply clicking on Slide Show.
Here’s how to set up the custom shows (a simplified example):
- In the Slide Show ribbon, select Custom Slide Shows/Custom Shows… In the Custom Shows pane, select New. A list of the slides in the file appears.
- Enter a name for the custom show (Solution A).
- Highlight the appropriate slides in the file and click Add to add them to the show; the custom show Solution A contains the “boilerplate” and the slide for Solution A only:
- Continue to create custom shows for Solution B and C.
- To present a specific show, the presenter (sales person) opens the file, goes to the Slide Show ribbon, selects Custom Slide Show and selects the appropriate custom show by name (Solution A):
- This starts the presentation (Slide Show mode).
This client also serves several markets (e.g., healthcare, federal government);custom shows could be set up for these markets. For example, the problem statement and experience/customers slides could be oriented towards a healthcare customer.
I’ve written a post on a similar technique (Breaking Out: Nonlinear PowerPoint) that allows the presenter to navigate through a presentation “on the fly” using hyperlinks to adjust the material to the specific audience. The custom show feature solves a similar problem but does not provide real time customization. On the other hand, it also does not require a that the presenter use a pointing device.